Policymakers and scholars are increasingly looking to cities to address challenges including income inequality. No existing research, however, directly and systematically measures local political elites’ preferences for redistribution. We interview and survey 72 American mayors—including many from the nation’s largest cities—and collect public statements and policy programs to measure when and why mayors prioritize redistribution. While many of the mayors’ responses are consistent with being constrained by economic imperatives, a sizable minority prioritize redistributive programs. Moving beyond the question of whether mayors support redistribution, we find that partisanship explains much of the variation in a mayor’s propensity for redistribution. Moreover, the impact of partisanship very rarely varies with institutional and economic contexts. These findings suggest that national political debates may be shaping local priorities in ways contrary to conventional views, and that they may matter even more than other recent findings conclude.
Over the past four decades, cities have experienced greater oversight from state government. Why have states become increasingly involved in local affairs? How has the increasing presence of state government altered how we understand urban politics? Relying on a case study of Newark, New Jersey, this article argues that the increasing presence of state government in local affairs was a response to the growth of Black political empowerment. Furthermore, the Newark case reveals that the changing role of state actors, particularly governors, in urban regimes requires an expansion of urban regime theory as a conceptual framework. Building on the argument that urban regimes should be viewed as intergovernmental regimes, the findings from the case study suggest that local communities are best represented under cohesive state–local regimes, while localities are exposed to less desirable, even hostile, state-led policies, under disjointed state–local regimes.
In the face of continued immigration to the United States and federal policy inertia, many local governments have started to adopt their own immigrant-related policies to cope with the newcomers. Among them, welcoming cities represent a new wave of inclusive local government responses that seeks to incorporate immigrants socially and economically and deviates from the previous policies that focus on law enforcement and legal status. In this article, we explore the rationales behind these cities’ commitment to immigrant integration by examining the effect of theory-based local demographic, economic, political, fiscal, and institutional characteristics and national network organization on local governments’ policy adoption. Our results indicate that cities that have an educated, diverse, and liberal population, are more economically troubled but fiscally sound are more likely to become welcoming cities. The Welcoming America as an umbrella organization also plays an important role in facilitating the welcoming movement.
This article conducts the first contextual analysis of ethnic-based discrimination in an Australian rental housing market: metropolitan Sydney. Logistic regression is employed to investigate how the likelihood of five behaviors by rental agents that may favor Anglo home seekers varies according to characteristics of the agent, home seeker, dwelling, and neighborhood. We find that several forms of discrimination favoring Anglos are consistently more likely in neighborhoods characterized by lower crime rates and shares of renter households, regardless of the ethnicity of the agent. Other patterns are consistent with the hypothesis that, in general in the Sydney rental market, agents regardless of ethnicity are motivated to discriminate by statistical discrimination. Our result that profit, not prejudice, drives discrimination implies that it will prove resilient to unfettered housing market forces and changes in societal ethnic tolerance, but instead, must be addressed through enhanced civil rights enforcement strategies.
We examine the influence of property tax delinquency on the sale price of nearby homes from 2002 to 2013 using more than 46,000 residential property sales in a representative midwestern central city—Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After controlling for a number of property and neighborhood characteristics including nearby foreclosures, we find property tax delinquency has a significant influence on nearby home sales. The relationship is negative; one additional tax delinquent property within 250 m of a home sale is associated with a discounted sale price of 0.79% or approximately $1,085 on average. In addition, the influence of tax delinquent properties on home sale prices diminishes with distance, suggesting blight is the source of the discount. Based on these findings, the negative influence of tax delinquency is likely to be exacerbated in central cities where housing density is greater and delinquency is higher and more persistent than the surrounding suburbs, which has the potential to lead to fiscal distress as property taxes are the primary revenue source for cities. As such, we suggest a two-tiered approach for cities to mitigate the negative consequences of tax delinquency: a combination of policies to eliminate delinquency and also to help homeowners become financially stable.
We examine the fiscal consequences of sustained population loss in American cities. We find the starkest difference between growing and declining cities in their levels of social and economic distress: Declining cities have higher rates of poverty and crime. Our evidence also suggests that shrinking cities have less fiscal capacity than growing cities, although this relationship is complicated by an apparent nonlinearity: Shrinking and rapidly growing cities both have less fiscal capacity than high-demand cities that grow slowly. Lastly, both high distress and low fiscal capacity appear to predict further population loss. Together, our evidence suggests that population loss may both increase social problems and decrease the resources available to solve them, and that declining cities may enter vicious cycles that perpetuate further decline.
Local governments operate 311 service request lines across the United States, and the publicly available data from these lines provide a continuously measured, geographically fine-grained, and non-self-reported measure of citizens’ interactions with government. It seems a promising measure of neighborhood political participation. However, these data are empirically and theoretically different from many common citizen-level participation measures. We compare geographically aggregated 311 call data with three other measures of political and civic participation: voter turnout, political donations, and census return rates. We show that rates of 311 calls are negatively related to lower cost activities (voter turnout and census return rates), but positively related to the high-cost activity of campaign donation. We caution against interpreting 311 data as a generic measure of political engagement or participation, at least in the absence of high-quality controls for neighborhood condition. However, we argue that these data are still potentially useful for researchers, because they are by definition a measure of the service demands that neighborhoods place on city governments.
This article investigates the impact of public land ownership on long-term processes of urban development by comparing the political histories of waterfront redevelopment in Chicago, Vancouver, and Toronto. The study is driven by two research questions: Why have redevelopment efforts in Chicago and Vancouver apparently succeeded whereas those in Toronto failed? And what was the impact of public land ownership on these outcomes? Drawing from archival, interview, and geospatial data, I argue that land ownership conditions had a defining and enduring impact on the shape and scale of waterfront redevelopment in each city. What separates Toronto’s waterfront from Chicago and Vancouver is not how much land was historically controlled by public versus private owners, but rather the relative distribution and concentration of these assets. Early political events involving the consolidation or fragmentation of land ownership established institutional arrangements that either enabled or inhibited effective implementation.
Urban political study has experienced several critical junctures. Rather than following an incremental path of cumulative development, urban analysis has gone through phases of reframing akin to what Thomas Kuhn called paradigm shifts. The purpose of this article is threefold: (1) to examine paradigmatic frameworks as alterations in urban inquiry, (2) to address the issue of why such shifts come about, and (3) to remind readers that shifts are double-edged, not only bringing new perspective to inquiry but also risking that other significant considerations may be overlooked in the process. Urban paradigms compete for preeminence, and all are in need of ongoing critical reassessment. The hold of any given framework of analysis proves impermanent in part because the underlying urban situation it illuminates is never static. The risk of a lag in analysis is never low.
Many studies on energy generation have focused on large-scale systems. But as the search for alternative sources of clean energy becomes imperative, there is the need to examine how local governments leverage their authority on land use to permit small-scale energy facilities. This study examines various factors shaping policy adoption on distributed renewable energy generation through the lens of transaction-cost politics. It deviates from existing land-use perspectives, which usually highlight competition between traditional land-use forces to capture the gains from policy. Policy adoption here implies that actors in their exchanges have been able to identify and reduce the transaction costs that would otherwise have prevented citizens from harvesting renewable energy at their place of residence. These actors minimize transaction costs by making use of the transaction resources available to them in the political market. These resources could ease barriers to political contracting and enable actors to shape policy. They include green firms, network memberships, dedicated staff for the sustainability effort, forms of government, and educated populace, which the study found significant in shaping the adoption of zoning codes that permit distributed renewable energy generation.
Urban technological innovation—the innovative use of technologies to tackle urban problems—has become increasingly popular under the label smart city. Our understanding of this sociotechnical process is limited, and therefore, this article develops a framework on the basis of the literature on social and technological innovation. This framework identifies four perspectives—a technological, an instrumental, a collaborative, and a symbolic perspective—to generate a comprehensive account of urban technological innovation. The value of the framework is tested by using it to analyze the Living Lab Stratumseind in Eindhoven (the Netherlands). The case highlights the value of the framework and demonstrates the interactions between the social and technological dimensions. The case study suggests that, for successful urban technological innovation, it is crucial to link initial enthusiasm based on technological and symbolic value to the long-term dynamics of institutionalized collaboration and instrumental value.
Nonnational elections are at least partially determined by factors pertaining to the national level, which is problematic for the democratic functioning of these nonnational policy levels. Recent scholarly work has begun examining the impact of the election campaign on voters’ tendency to vote "nationally". However, these studies focus almost exclusively on European Union (EU) elections, and their findings may not be generalizable to other contexts. Moreover, they assume campaigns affect all voters similarly. In contrast, this study examines whether campaigns affect voters’ tendency to vote nationally in a local election, and whether partisan preferences condition the effect. These expectations are tested using panel survey data and a media content analysis collected during the 2012 Antwerp local election campaign. The results indicate that the campaign affected voters, making local considerations more important. However, the impact was conditional upon voters’ partisan preferences: When a party put more emphasis on the national context, voters preferring that party became more likely to rely on national considerations throughout the campaign.
This article examines whether or not municipal mergers change the perceived level of public services within a merged municipality. I argue that residents of small municipalities that merge with larger neighbors lose political powers after the mergers; they become a minority within a merged municipality, and their electoral importance declines accordingly. As a result, the level of public services to the merged localities is expected to decrease. I test this argument by focusing on the nationwide concurrence of municipal mergers in Japan that rapidly took place in the 2000s. I conducted a survey of voters in rural municipalities that merged and those that remained intact during this wave of mergers. Using the responses to the survey, I demonstrate that the level of public services, as perceived by the respondents, declined more significantly in municipalities with mergers than in municipalities without.
Low-income people of color in urban communities have been found to suffer from high levels of political inequality and poor political representation. To make policy more responsive and accountable, neighborhood organizations are often solicited to serve as informal community representatives in local decision-making processes. Given this reliance on nonelected representatives, we ask, Do community residents believe neighborhood organizations are legitimate representatives of their interests? Using survey data from residents of the South Side of Chicago, this article demonstrates that residents’ trust in organizations as representatives varies significantly by organizational type. Specifically, community organizations, religious congregations, and schools are rated as more trustworthy to speak on behalf of the community than local elected officials. These findings hold relatively constant across a variety of individual- and community-level differences, implying that this preference is widespread and may extend to other vulnerable urban communities in the United States.
Scholars have long argued that gentrification may displace long-term homeowners by causing their property taxes to increase, and policy makers, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have cited this argument as a justification for state laws that limit the increase of residential property taxes. We test the hypotheses that gentrification directly displaces homeowners by increasing their property taxes, and that property tax limitation protects residents of gentrifying neighborhoods from displacement, by merging the Panel Study of Income Dynamics with a decennial Census-tract-level measure of gentrification and a new data set on state-level property tax policy covering the period 1987 to 2009. We find some evidence that property tax pressure can trigger involuntary moves by homeowners, but no evidence that such displacement is more common in gentrifying neighborhoods than elsewhere, nor that property tax limitation protects long-term homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods. We do find evidence that gentrification directly displaces renters.
The aim of this study was to investigate, in consideration of individual attributes and neighborhood-level social capital, the association between official crime rates and sense of neighborhood security among residents in the 23 wards of Tokyo, Japan, using data obtained from a national questionnaire survey and police statistics on crime for 511 neighborhoods. We found that crime rates affected residents’ sense of security differently according to the type of crime committed and the spatial scale. Regarding individual attributes, sense of security among men and those aged 35 to 49 years was in line with the actual property crime rate, whereas that among women and the elderly was in line with the actual violent crime rate. In addition, even when controlling for social capital, which had a strong positive effect on residents’ sense of security, and individual attributes, all crime rates except that for violent crime were significantly related to residents’ sense of security in their neighborhood.
Researchers have analyzed stadiums as an urban redevelopment tool for two decades but little work has studied what effect sports facilities have on gentrification. This article attempts to fill that void in the literature, using a multicity panel study to understand how minor league baseball stadiums affect the immediately surrounding areas on measures of redevelopment and gentrification. Regression results show that census tracts near a new minor league baseball stadium saw significant increases in the median income and slower growth in the share of minorities, but no change in the median rent or the overall rate of residential turnover. These findings indicate that minor league baseball stadiums create elements of both economic growth and demographic change, an outcome that deserves consideration when planning similar projects in the future.
Recent election cycles have seen growing attention to the role of "outside" money in urban school board elections. Using an original data set of more than 16,000 contributions covering election cycles from 2008 to 2013 in four school districts (Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; Denver, CO; Bridgeport, CT), we show how large national donors play a significant role. Our study links two dynamic fields that are rarely studied together: (1) the behavior of wealthy donors in a changing national campaign finance system and (2) the evolving politics of urban education. By examining donor networks, we illuminate the mechanisms behind the nationalization of education politics and national donor involvement in local campaigns. We show that shared affiliations through education organizations are significantly associated with school board campaign contributions.
Although cities have revived as economic centers for the middle and upper classes, poor and minority communities continue to be locked out of urban job markets. First Source Hiring is designed to act as both a linkage program and a targeted hiring rule to ensure low-income residents have opportunities to work on publicly sponsored projects. A first wave of FSH began in the 1980s but was abandoned due to political push-back. A second wave emerged in response to growing inequality in the 1990s and 2000s. In this article, we review the literature on FSH development and implementation through a Four Rs evaluation framework. Then, we use case studies of FSH for Los Angeles World Airports, the Atlanta BeltLine, and the City of San Francisco to assess the potential of "second-wave" FSH programs to make meaningful contributions to linking disadvantaged job seekers with opportunities.
In cities across the United States, groups of mostly men congregate in public and semipublic spaces in hopes of being hired for short-term work. The particular spaces where laborers congregate each day are crucial to their economic and social fortunes, yet to date, there is limited research examining the spatial organization of these sites. In this article, I draw on relational perspectives on the production of space and governmentality practices to examine day-labor hiring spaces in the San Diego Metropolitan Area. Drawing on more than seven years of mixed-methods research, I argue that laborers collectively employ strategic visibility: a set of spatial practices that reduces the potential for conflict and ensures laborers’ continued access to the particular spaces on which their survival depends. This analysis suggests that laborers’ site-selection and spatial practices are driven by pragmatic, economic concerns, rather than fear of interactions with policing agencies and/or anti-immigrant residents.
Based on interviews with 44 urban growers in New Orleans, this study examines their experiences of establishing urban agriculture (UA) projects on publicly and privately owned lots, either through purchase or lease. Publicly owned lots are easier to identify, but bureaucratic application processes and unpredictable policy changes made access less predictable and insecure, especially in terms of purchasing. Leasing privately owned lots is often a straightforward procedure, but these lots are difficult to identify without a comprehensive list, and were rarely available for purchase. Ultimately, neither type of vacant space produces significantly more security in land tenure for UA projects. The findings indicate that availability of vacancy does not equal initial or long-term access to the growers, and the current system of making vacant properties available for UA raises concerns about the long-term sustainability of UA projects.
What explains local policy response to extreme events? This question takes on growing importance as climate change increases the frequency of droughts, floods, heat waves, wildfires, and severe storms. Emergency events like these often require local officials to make decisions that trade off short-term risk reduction against longer-term political costs. Policies that promote community-wide safety and resilience may face opposition because they restrict resource use or otherwise limit personal activities. Using data on the adoption of local water usage restrictions during the 2010–2013 Texas drought, we examine the balance between political and problem-driven incentives for local emergency response. We find that problem conditions and institutional capacity of water systems outweigh political interests in shaping the timing of policy response.
Economic development strategies aimed at attracting highly skilled workers through investment in urban amenities are gaining momentum throughout the United States. However, most of the foundational research for the approach was tested in very large cities, both in the United States and abroad. Based on quality of place (QOP) variables suggested from previous research, confirmatory factor analysis was used to generate a set of factors for a selection of small and midsized U.S. cities, and linear regression was used to relate these factors to the presence of college-educated populations, younger college-educated populations, and adult population growth. The results indicated that some of the QOP factors associated with better human capital outcomes in prior literature focusing on larger cities were also significant predictors of better human capital outcomes in midsized cities. The relationship between these factors and development outcomes for small cities were much weaker.
Many counties in the U.S. federalist system have morphed from a limited role in service delivery to a workhorse for municipal-style local government. They also facilitate development and sprawl, helping to shape development patterns of the modern fragmented metropolis. Why do counties accommodate development demand that deviates from long-term land-use plans intended to prevent sprawl? Utilizing panel data of county land-use changes in Florida, this study finds evidence that the decisions are shaped by both external competition for growth and internal institutional incentives. Fragmentation fuels more leapfrog development patterns on the urban fringe. Horizontal fragmentation encourages counties to compete for development, whereas vertical fragmentation via special districts facilitates such development through provision of services and reducing pressure for public officeholders to raise taxes. However, these fragmentation effects are also influenced by modernized institutions in counties such as home-rule charters and form of government.
This article examines the effects of accomplishments on the career paths of big-city mayors. Using data from 104 cities with populations over 160,000 from 1992 to 2012, this study examines the extent to which performance in economics, crime, and recruiting mega-events affects mayors’ decisions to seek reelection or other offices, or retire. Results indicate those mayors of cities with population growth, a decrease in the crime rate, and that host certain mega-events (presidential nominating conventions) are more likely to seek another office than other mayors. A decrease in the crime rate seems to help mayors win reelection while none of the other accomplishments appear to improve their chances of winning campaigns for other offices.
What drives budgetary support for minority-targeted policies? This question is increasingly salient because the public sector serves numerous minority clientele. One perspective suggests that budgetary decisions are grounded in need or demand, while another contends that political pressures will result in the allocation of resources to those with political power. This article presents a theory of budgetary allocation based on the interaction between politics and professionalism, two seemingly disparate perspectives. Furthermore, we separate professionalism into two dimensions—demand and need. Through an analysis of budgeting decisions for bilingual education, we find that political representation leads to more positive budgetary changes for low-demand and, conversely, high-need environments. These findings support not only the interaction between politics and professionalism as a driver of budgetary outcomes but also the theory of two dimensions of professionalism.
Efforts are intensifying to spur innovation in the public sector, and multiactor collaboration seems to offer a viable strategy for doing so. However, though government actors are relatively keen to involve citizens and civil society actors in the design and implementation of innovative solutions, co-initiation of public innovation is rare. As a result, local governments often fail to tap into the experiences, ideas, and resources of civic actors when identifying and defining problems and challenges that call for innovative solutions. To explore the conditions, process, and impact of co-initiated public innovations in urban spaces, this article analyzes three Danish cases of co-initiation. The empirical cases are described and compared to identify the conditions of co-initiation, describe the different phases in the collaborative process, and assess the various impacts. The article also reflects on the role of institutional design and leadership in facilitating co-initiation of collaborative innovation.
Using data collected in seven local Russian communities in 2011–2015, we discovered several kinds of relationships between legislative and executive branches of local government. In most cases, the executive branches clearly dominate over the legislative ones. The ratio of resources and the politics of federal and regional authorities allow us to consider this pattern of relationship as a norm, while other types of relationships are exceptions. Configurations of power resources and instruments of influence used to exercise control over the legislative bodies significantly vary and provide different variations of local government interactions: "domination based on coercion," "bargaining from the position of strength," "domination based on persuasion," "domination under confrontation." Alternative forms of relationships ("quasi-domination of local legislature," "temporary parity under confrontation," "alliance in the face of ‘external threat’") occur when the executive bodies are headed by inadequate and/or inexperienced leaders unable to realize the high power potential of their position. This reflects the important role of personalism and the relative weakness of the institutional framework in Russia’s urban politics.
This article explores how variations in provincial-state and city-level political cultures influence urban economic trajectory by mediating forces emerging out of global economic demand and a uniform national regulatory regime. The research shows how an integrated urban governance framework designed to analyze and compare governance modes of advanced capitalist cities through a fixed set of criteria (e.g., governing relations, governing logic, key decision makers, and political objectives) could be recalibrated through inclusion of additional parameters (e.g., local political culture and scalar location of power) so as to expand its applicability to an emerging economy, such as India, having a large, mostly poor, rural population and a high degree of internal sociocultural diversity. Competition between India’s regional elites to attract global information technology (IT)-enabled "business process outsourcing" economy investments, through land-use conversion of farmlands at the outer periphery of the metropolitan regions, forms the backdrop of the research.
Recent research suggests that foreclosures have negative effects on homeowners and neighborhoods. We examine the association between concentrated foreclosure activity and the risk of a property with a foreclosure filing being scheduled for foreclosure auction in New York City. Controlling for individual property and sociodemographic characteristics of the neighborhood, being located in a tract with a high number of auctions following the subject property’s own foreclosure filing is associated with a significantly higher probability of scheduled foreclosure auction for the subject property. Concentration of foreclosure filings prior to the subject property’s own foreclosure filing is associated with a lower probability of scheduled foreclosure auction. Concentrated foreclosure auctions in the tract prior to a subject property’s own filing is not significantly associated with the probability of scheduled foreclosure auction. The implications for geographic targeting of foreclosure policy interventions are discussed.
Voluntary mergers of local jurisdictions in Europe gained in importance in the last two decades. A debated but rarely analyzed issue in this field is the impact of different local characteristics on the probability to merge. The article contributes to this debate by assessing the importance of local determinants in two stages of a merger process. The quantitative study of a large-scale territorial reform in the Swiss canton of Fribourg shows that factors linked to the functional dimension of local government, such as economic hardship, explain the start of a merger process but not the decision taken at the ballots. Here, factors associated with the political dimension of local government, such as political power considerations, offer a better explanation. These findings might be explained by the variation of different political actors’ strength along the two stages of a merger process.
Urban politics research has not kept pace—empirically or theoretically—with city governments’ engagement with climate change policy. Thousands of cities globally have made commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and are taking steps toward these goals. In the United States, research has examined the motivations for such actions and has described some of the implementation challenges cities are encountering, but we lack a theoretically informed understanding of how these actions intersect politically with existing interests, institutions, and fiscal realities in cities. This article identifies five political entry points that are specific to urban climate change policy and can provide a foundation for empirically and theoretically valuable research. The pursuit of such an interdisciplinary urban research agenda for climate change would enhance our understanding of when and how cities are successful in addressing climate change and would provide new answers to long-standing questions in urban politics.
Rapid industrialization and urbanization have ushered in drastic urban change in China since the 1980s. Along with the reform in land-use rights, emerging land rent is contested vigorously between the urban developmental state and the rural collective/urban danwei with socialist land-use rights in the context of institutional transition. The contests have entailed land rent seeking and dissipation and, consequently, impacted fundamentally on the newly built urban spatial structures, manifested by the suburban sprawl in the less dynamic regions, peri-urban fragmented land uses, and overcompaction of the central cities in the dynamic municipalities. The newly created landed interests based upon new institution of land leasing are embedded intricately within the urban spatial structure, which will generate "unearned rent increment" and "inflicted rent reduction" in the course of constant progressive urban change. Failure in addressing these two issues and equity between the two will stall continuous urbanization while rural–urban migration is still proceeding.
Black and Latino voters support coethnic candidates at high rates in local elections. What is less clear is how Black and Latino voters respond to out-group candidates when they do not have the option to support a coethnic candidate. I posit that when race and ethnicity become salient in a campaign, endorsements from Black and Latino leaders and organizations increase support of out-group candidates among Blacks and Latinos. I find that this hypothesis is strongly supported among Blacks. However, the same is not true for Latinos, most likely because of the political heterogeneity of the group. Using data from a survey experiment, I show that Black endorsements of minority out-group candidates are persuasive for Blacks, while comparable endorsements from Latinos are not as influential among Latinos.
Do residential locations of Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) households reflect tenants’ preferences for neighborhood quality? Study results come from a three-part methodology: (1) survey of voucher holders to find neighborhood preferences and other factors in the consumer decision-making model, (2) geographic information system (GIS) analysis of actual locational outcomes in terms of neighborhood opportunity and transportation accessibility, and (3) quantitative analysis of the strength of preference–outcome relationships. The results reveal that survey participants placed high priority on neighborhoods that were safe and clean, and with quality schools. Despite this, higher priority on quality housing and search barriers affected the housing choice. As such, to a large extent, the residents did not live in places that met their location preferences. The study calls for an expansion of location assessment measures in the current policy framework and the provision of more information about housing and neighborhood options to voucher recipients.
External investment in neighborhoods can inhibit crime. However, during the housing crisis, many investors were foreclosed upon, triggering large-scale community disinvestment. Yet the impact of this type of disinvestment on crime is currently unknown. Combining data on crime incidents with foreclosure, home sales, and sociodemographic data, this research assesses whether the foreclosure of properties owned by investors has an effect on crime in neighborhoods in Chandler, Arizona, a suburb in the heavily affected Phoenix region. Neighborhoods with a greater proportion of foreclosures on investors (FOIs) have higher total and property crime rates in the short term. In Hispanic neighborhoods, a greater proportion of FOIs result in lower rates of crime. Results suggest that neighborhood stabilization efforts should consider the role of investors in driving short-term crime rates, and that police and code enforcement strategies might prioritize neighborhoods with a high proportion of investor foreclosures.
Despite the fact that social mix is an essential component of urban policies in Western Europe, it remains unclear at what spatial scale housing diversification programs may be most effective. When people with different backgrounds, household compositions, and lifestyles live in close proximity to one another, the emergence of close social ties is not always guaranteed. On the one hand, living in socially mixed environments may create bridges between residents of different social positions. On the other hand, it can lead to processes of social distancing and reproduce negative stereotypes. This article aims to provide insights into how these diverging experiences of social closeness or distance relate to place-specific features such as housing design, management practices, and the structure of local facilities. Lessons are drawn from a qualitative study on resident experiences of living with difference in a fine-grained mixed-tenure development in a newly built neighborhood in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
This research examines the impact of neighborhood ethnoracial composition on the likelihood that neighborhoods that could gentrify do gentrify over time. Drawing on findings from the gentrification and residential preference literatures, we hypothesize that the percentage of Black and Latino residents in neighborhoods in 1980 is associated with the probability of gentrification, conditional on the racial composition of neighborhoods in 2010. We test these hypotheses with analyses of census data for tracts in the central cities of Chicago and New York in 1980 to 2010. We find that the percentage of Black residents in 1980 was negatively associated with gentrified White and positively associated with gentrified Black neighborhoods, and that percent Latino in 1980 was positively associated with gentrified Latino neighborhoods. Finally, we found strong evidence that gentrification in these cities was much more likely to occur in neighborhoods close to the central business district.
Facing both neoliberalism and the persisting legacies of developmentalism, many South Korean cities continue to subscribe to strong growth-first ideologies, despite their deindustrialization and aging populations. The growth orientation in cities, however, is far from being limited to South Korea. In fact, the recently emerging discourse on urban shrinkage, which has been West-centric so far, is questioning the bias toward growth in cities, and calling for a paradigm shift. This article brings together the literatures on shrinking cities and urban politics to illustrate how an East Asian city, transforming from a developmentalist to an entrepreneurial city, could seek a development alternative to the one based on the neoliberal competition for capital. Specifically, it examines the case of Totatoga, a culture-led urban revitalization project in a declining, old commercial district of Busan. It explains how a new kind of state–society collaboration opportunely explored a development path other than growth.
This article investigates the relevance of spatial assimilation theory in Copenhagen, Helsinki, Oslo, and Stockholm. An important backdrop is the "Nordic model of welfare": We assume that welfare generosity decreases the speed of spatial integration. The study uses non-Western immigrants as a target group and natives as a reference group. We register location in 2000 and 2008, and analyze integration in terms of neighborhood status and residential segregation. The results show, in all cities, a lack of aggregate upward mobility in the spatial hierarchy. We also find a negligible effect of upward earnings mobility on upward spatial mobility. Upward spatial mobility increases integration in ethnic terms, but other factors work in the opposite direction and contribute to prevailing segregation. The results as a whole strengthen the purported association between welfare state characteristics and spatial integration. Deviant outcomes, particularly in Helsinki, are explained by immigration history and housing market structure.
Public-sector innovation and entrepreneurship usually refer to policies undertaken by public administrations or driven by urban regimes in view of furthering economic development. Some researchers study these processes from a management perspective; others critique them as vehicles of neoliberalization. However, scant attention has been paid to everyday technical and service innovation undertaken by municipal departments and employees. Although this innovation is usually not driven by markets, municipalities’ small size and geographic rootedness suggest it can be apprehended using concepts from firm-level studies. Our study of a municipal innovation competition in Quebec provides examples of everyday municipal innovation. We find that municipalities’ internal capacity determines their innovativeness, that learning occurs, and that the motivation and evaluation of everyday municipal innovation are not market-based. This calls into question the appropriation of the term urban entrepreneurship by urban political economists and invites students of cities to examine municipal entrepreneurial processes more closely.
Research suggests that growing up in more affluent neighborhoods improves educational attainment. But would it help adolescents to move to relatively more affluent neighborhoods, as theories of neighborhood effects anticipate? Does it depend on the magnitude of the change of context? To answer these questions, we use data from the National Educational Longitudinal Survey and the 1990 Census to estimate models using propensity score methods. We found that both upward mobility and change of context during adolescence had small effects on long-term educational attainment that varied by race, socioeconomic status, transfer status, and the social class of starting neighborhoods. Importantly, upward moves and positive changes in context reduced African-Americans’ chances of completing high school.
Local government systems across the world face acute and ongoing fiscal challenges. In Australia, the regulatory response has focused squarely on council consolidation. This has, unfortunately, meant that comparatively little attention has been paid to alternate, less disruptive methods for enhancing municipal sustainability. One such possibility lies in modifying the structure of local political representation. We conduct a number of estimations on a four-year panel of Victorian municipal data to test whether the "law of 1/n" has empirical support at the local government level. Our results clearly show that the number of geographically defined fragments, or wards, within a given municipality is a statistically significant determinant of local government expenditure. A number of public policy recommendations follow from the empirical evidence that might be broadly applicable to other municipal systems.
Millions of Americans live in communities without an adequate supply of affordable housing. The governmental response to the crisis has focused on subsidies to private developers who build below-market housing, with the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) at the center of this effort. Although federally funded, the LIHTC program grants states wide latitude in distributing billions of dollars of tax credits annually. Do state officials exploit this discretion to channel housing subsidies to geographic constituencies for political ends? Drawing on 20 years of LIHTC administrative data, I test whether electoral support for the state’s governing party predicts the level of tax credit investment directed to an area. The analysis reveals a modest relationship between partisan loyalty and housing investment, conditional on the partisan and institutional contexts. Democratic governors steer tax credits to areas of core support, but only where the governor exercises a high level of control over the state’s LIHTC-allocating agency.
This article outlines the value of the American Political Development (APD) approach for scholars of urban governance. Despite recent enthusiasm for APD, I argue that the tools of the APD approach have not yet been clearly articulated or demonstrated for urban scholars. By combining the concept of "intercurrence" with a methodological focus on shifts in urban political authority, APD allows us to capture the dynamics of urban governance in tractable ways. This approach focuses on the historical construction of urban governance and the patterns of political authority that are embodied by those governance structures—long a key theme in the study of urban politics. I illustrate the promise of the APD approach in urban governance using a study of policy institutions in six Canadian cities and five policy domains from the nineteenth century to the present. I then discuss four specific areas of research to which an APD approach to urban governance will be especially well equipped to contribute.
Despite growing scholarly interest in residential segregation in Central and Eastern Europe, thus far insufficient attention has been paid to understanding marginalization in these postsocialist transition societies through the perceptions of stakeholders. The present article reports the findings of a qualitative study of the perceptions of urban social problems in the city center of Prague, Czechia. Semistructured interviews with the key actors involved in the city’s social development are used to understand what social phenomena they perceive as problematic, how they localize them within the urban space, and how their perceptions translate into policy attitudes. We find that stakeholders emphasize the issues of homelessness, drug addiction, and the appropriate delivery of social services in their narratives. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the repressive nature of policy interventions partly results from a lack of experience of overcoming such societal issues and partly results from weak coordination at the city level.
We use multiple longitudinal data sources and propensity score matching to assess the long-term outcomes of the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) in the Sandtown-Winchester community of Baltimore. This comprehensive community initiative, implemented in the 1990s, remains one of the most well-known urban revitalization projects in the country, due to its significant funding (more than $100 million) and comprehensive approach to neighborhood redevelopment, including housing construction, education reform, and employment services. We find significant increases in homeownership and reductions in unemployment in Sandtown. However, there were limited gains elsewhere, as poverty remained high and local schools did not show sustained improvement. Our findings speak to the durability of social inequality in high-poverty and racially segregated neighborhoods, and underscore the need to further develop rigorous standards for research that evaluates community-level interventions.
The successful transformation of Asheville’s downtown from desolate to vibrant is noteworthy. This article shows how successful redevelopment coalitions have shaped the downtown, with focus on the post-1980 period. In recent decades, public-sector officials and private investors have collaborated to create a downtown rooted in an architecturally significant historic built environment and based on independent business. Those most active have often crossed business, creative, and philanthropic sectors in ways we describe as "social entrepreneurial." The Asheville downtown coalition differs from the progrowth as well as the populist (progressive) regimes identified in other literature, but offers insights into downtown development efforts as urban governance becomes more fragmented and city development policy more focused on tourism and consumption.
This evaluation of American urban policy considers future directions during the twenty-first century. It concludes that it is no longer fruitful to treat cities and other urban places as special interests with special problems to successfully address urban inequalities. The most critical forces now shaping urban America overwhelmingly are found beyond it. Future policies should concentrate on making the whole intergovernmental environment more just with the national government at the center of dual strategies. One promotes universalistic and individualistic social programs. The other alters the nation’s excessively decentralized intergovernmental system to limit self-defeating games of local governmental economic warfare.
Past work has shown that economic conditions influence electoral outcomes at multiple levels of government in Canada and in democratic states around the world. However, there is significant variation in the jurisdictional ability of different governments to influence economic conditions; in particular, municipal governments may be least able to influence the economy. As a result, voters may be less likely to hold municipal incumbents accountable for economic conditions than either provincial or federal politicians. Building on this discussion, this article explores several questions. First, do citizens differentiate between the impacts of different orders of government on economic conditions? Second, does the economy affect incumbent support in local elections? Finally, does knowledge of the jurisdictional responsibilities of the three levels of government condition economic effects at the municipal level in Canada? We consider these questions using individual-level data collected during the 2014 Toronto municipal election.
In the United States, academic research on local polices for international migration remains predominantly descriptive, methodologically localist, and focused on anti-immigrant policies. By contrast, this study offers a relational perspective on local immigration policy, arguing that a convergence of efforts by local governments and by immigrant communities at upward social mobility favors the emergence of inclusionary local immigration policies. This effect is facilitated by the predominance of Democratic partisanship and the presence of a bifurcated ethnic composition in localities. This theory is developed through a strategic narrative of the immigration policies of Baltimore City in the context of the U.S. rustbelt. Covering the period from the late 1970s to 2015, the narrative is based on information from official documents, news articles, academic literature, and official statistics.
As the United States struggles with national solutions to climate change, state and local governments have increasingly taken policy action in this area. Although existing research addresses why some places adopt climate change policy while others do not, much of this expresses policies as a function of factors in the present period or recent past, leaving the question of whether current climate change policy can be seen as a lagged response to longer term trends largely unaddressed. Examination of climate change policy as a response to longer term changes expands the existing understanding of why locations choose to be active in this area. Pairing unique climate change policy survey data from more than 200 local Great Plains governments with Census and environmental data from 1990 to 2000, this article examines whether changes in local socioeconomic and environmental factors in the 1990s are associated with climate change mitigation and adaptation policy adoption from the following decade, 2000–2010.
After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans eliminated default neighborhood schools and began to require parents to choose a school for their child. There are many new schools and a new enrollment process, making accurate and comprehensive information essential. Is one’s information source related to satisfaction in their choices? Psychological theories suggest that more information may not always be better; people can be overwhelmed and actually make suboptimal choices. I show that a greater reliance on comprehensive sources is related to less confidence that one’s child got into their top choice school, while those parents who use shortcuts, such as social networks and/or school advertising, are more satisfied that they made the right choice. Information sources are not, however, related to the likelihood of enrolling one’s child in a high performing school. Rather, the school performance score is predicted by race and socioeconomic class.
This article will revisit Smith’s seminal argument that gentrification is a global urban strategy. The article pays attention to the role of the state and displacement during the process of redevelopment. Through an in-depth study of a dilapidated neighborhood with concentrated migrant population in Shanghai, it is revealed that state control is behind the deterioration of the neighborhood prior to its redevelopment. Inadequate services and poor housing conditions are undeniable. Informal development has been quickly realigned by state dominance. The self-building neighborhood is eventually replaced by state-sanctioned development projects. The article echoes the debate over displacement in the West and suggests that recent urban redevelopment in China has gone beyond both the sporadic middle-class return to the city and residential changes backed up by state actions, revealing hegemonic power of the state over spatial production. Through urban redevelopment, the state attempts to regularize informal areas into new production spaces for its revenue maximization.
Service representation—the extent to which elected officials act as ombudsmen and engage in casework to assist their constituents with problems—is a crucial aspect of contemporary democratic representation. The local level of government is a potentially fruitful location in which to explore the practice of service representation. Despite this, service representation in local governments is understudied. Using data from interviews with 52 sitting councillors and a survey of 589 sitting councillors in Canadian cities, this article explores both the commitment of councillors to service and influences on time committed to service. This research finds that service representation is an important but secondary role of Canadian councillors. Furthermore, councillors elected in wards commit more time to service than councillors elected at-large, and councillors with strong service role perceptions also commit more time to service.
In recent years, interest has grown in collaboration in public policy. Responding to the complex issues now playing out in cities, scholars are focusing on localized governance relations that blur boundaries between public, private, and community sectors. This article introduces discursive localism as a framework to understand better collaborative urban governance. It argues that ideas play a pivotal role in motivating collective action, channeling policy resources, and shaping governance relations. Although recent urban-focused accounts of collective action suggest a role for ideas, systematic attention to their normative-philosophical and cognitive-programmatic dimensions reveals how different policy discourses frame incentives and institutions for collaboration. Applying discursive localism to Toronto, Canada, the article describes change processes across three complex policy fields. Governance arrangements are argued to flow from the operative policy discourses, especially whether their normative and cognitive dimensions are integrated, dissociated, or fragmented.
This article reviews dominant urban political theories and argues that pluralism, public choice theory, and regime theory do not pay sufficient attention to the urban state and history. By "bringing the state back [into]" urban political theory, this article reveals the extent to which each dominant theoretical perspective represents a similar theme played again and again in different historical periods and institutional contexts. I argue that city politics and urban government are shaped by economic and democratic forces, and whether, when, and how these forces influence city officials is contingent upon the design of those local organizations, their capacities, their position within broader political structures, and their position within broader economic systems. By bringing history and the urban state to the forefront of local political analysis, this essay reveals continuity across dominant urban political theories and identifies important theoretical and explanatory gaps.
Seeking regulatory power unavailable at the urban scale, community–labor coalitions have persuaded dozens of state legislatures to enact legislation addressing the problem of wage theft in low-wage service industries. The project of wage theft reform raises important questions about whether urban coalitions can effectively pursue their advocacy goals in State Houses. Drawing on an inventory of 255 wage theft laws proposed between 2004 and 2012, we evaluate three rival explanations of why wage theft legislation succeeds: worker grievances, political conditions, and movement strength. We find that states with larger numbers of worker centers and higher union density are more likely to both propose and enact wage theft legislation. Our results also suggest that urban reform movements maintain greater power to set legislative agendas than they do to ensure the passage of proposed laws. This suggest that "new labor" actors have developed state-level political power that warrants further scrutiny and explanation.
This study intends to enrich the literature of comparative studies on growth machine and urban regime through contextualized analyses of growth politics in Shanghai, China. An analytical framework is developed to advance our understanding of the variation of growth politics in a different urban setting. In particular, this study contends that local government’s dual goals of promoting economic growth and managing development-related conflicts are the key to making sense of growth politics in Shanghai. This specific configuration of institutions suggests that growth coalition has to extend itself spatially into neighborhood level and temporally into postdevelopment phase to sustain urban growth. This extension requires pro-growth players to exploit infrastructural power to contain homeowners’ activism. This research calls for attention to the nexus between economic and political dimensions of urban growth, a refined conceptualization of local states, and the interaction between pro-growth and antigrowth forces which shapes the forms and dynamics of urban regime.
Universities are increasingly faced with central city decline; anchored by their assets—primarily real estate—and, sometimes, institutional missions, many have felt threatened by neighborhood deterioration. In response, several universities have intervened in neighborhood decline over the last two decades, initiating revitalization and physical improvement strategies. Since 1996, the University of Pennsylvania has been a leader in this work, investing in the West Philadelphia Initiatives (WPI) to address safety, vacancy, and disinvestment concerns. This study utilizes Census data to evaluate changes in the character of University City between 1990 and 2010. Analysis suggests that, contrary to popular belief, the neighborhood improved but did not gentrify. The story, however, does not end there. While the neighborhood did not gentrify as a whole, the portion served by the Penn-sponsored public K-8 school experienced drastic change. As the blocks inside the school’s catchment grew wealthier, more homogeneous, and more educated, these upward trends masked continued socioeconomic decline in the remainder of the neighborhood.
Business improvement districts (BIDs) are local organizations that have been revitalizing commercial areas for the last two decades in the United States. However, not every commercial district has succeeded in establishing BIDs despite some initial efforts. This research presents a comparative examination of two neighborhoods in Los Angeles—MacArthur Park and the Byzantine Latino Quarter (BLQ)—to examine the BID formation process in poor immigrant neighborhoods and to identify how community characteristics differ between the neighborhood that succeeded in BID formation and the other that did not. The BLQ displayed distinguishable factors that may have contributed to successful BID formation, including invested community stakeholders, organizational resources, residents’ activism, and efforts to embrace multiethnic groups. This research demonstrates that community organizing capacity and characteristics can change the course and outcome of BID formation. This study also offers insights for multicultural community organizing and equitable distribution of public services to the areas with inconclusive or ineffective efforts of BID formation.
This article refines our understanding of the building blocks of civic capacity. It argues that the development of civic capacity depends heavily on the tractability or "wickedness" of public problems. Problem tractability, in turn, depends on leaders’ ability to manage processes of learning and bargaining strategically by influencing policy networks, governance institutions, and collective cognitive frames. Longitudinal case studies of urban growth and transportation in Seattle highlight the benefits for civic capacity of building robust networks and legitimate, transparent governance institutions, and of adjusting the frames of debate in light of situational demands. The article concludes with propositions and implications for future research.
It is often alleged that households moving into neighborhoods with the aid of housing choice vouchers (HCVs) raise crime rates there. We use 1999–2008 quarterly data from Chicago census tracts to test this allegation with a dynamic panel model designed to overcome the challenges of omitted variable and endogeneity biases. We find no support for the proposition that growth in HCV holders leads to growth in violent crime rates, regardless of neighborhood context. We find that growth in HCV holders is positively associated with growth in property crime rates, however, in higher poverty neighborhoods or if HCVs exceed a threshold concentration.
Politicians and leaders use metaphors and frames in political communication to provide citizens with meaning, persuade, and promote emotional reactions. At the same time, a large body of scholarship documents the propensity for female leaders to "speak in a different voice" when in political office. Research to date on policy metaphors, however, rarely compares male and female leaders’ use of metaphors or evaluates the use of these metaphors in local politics. Using State of the City addresses from 16 cities to evaluate the connection between policy agendas, metaphors, and mayoral gender, I find that male and female leaders emphasize similar issues in their speeches, but use different frames to present these issues, with female leaders using more nurturing framing than do male leaders. In addition, while both male and female mayors emphasize economic development as the central issue in their speeches, female mayors use more inclusive framing in these discussions.
We revisit the claim that ethnic heterogeneity—the degree to which different ethnic groups make up the population—reduces local government spending on various public goods. Our analysis suggests that heterogeneity does not necessarily reduce local public spending due to two factors: (1) the low price elasticity of demand for local public goods and (2) the substitution between public goods. Using data from American cities and school districts from 2000 to 2010, we find that ethnic heterogeneity has offsetting positive and negative effects on various types of local government spending. Our findings imply that local governments respond to an increase in ethnic heterogeneity by rebalancing local public spending—for instance, adopting a policy that reallocates resources from roads to police and fire protection.
There exists an active discussion as to the effects of racial/ethnic composition on community connection. Research has suggested that racial segregation is beneficial to one’s community connection. To explore this dynamic, we investigate how an individual’s community connection is determined by the racial/ethnic segregation of his or her neighborhood, among other independent variables. We implement multilevel models using individual data from the 2008 and 2010 Public Health Management Corporation’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Household Health Survey and tract data from the 2006–2010 American Community Survey. We find that though the overall socioeconomic status of a neighborhood explains much of the variations in community connection, non-Hispanic Blacks living in predominantly White or mixed communities tend to have a weaker community connection than their counterparts in other types of neighborhood. This demonstrates that segregation and socioeconomic status explain community connection.
Land speculation has been an integral component of the political economy of land development in American urban history. In the American Sunbelt, land speculation occurs amid progrowth governance regimes that engage in intermunicipal competition for capital investment. This article presents a mixed-methods case study of vacant land speculation in downtown Phoenix, Arizona, before, during, and after the mid-2000s property boom. Results indicate that land speculation represented a significant barrier to both public and private infill development efforts, and that some municipal development initiatives actually facilitated private speculative profits. Speculative strategies are enabled when weaknesses in the coordination and bargaining power of urban growth regimes, derived from conflict within and between governmental scales, can be exploited by individual market actors. The self-propulsive nature of speculative property market cycles, unconstrained by local regimes increasingly dependent on nonlocal capital investment, represents an autonomous force actively orienting entries into property markets and influencing the ability to enact sustainable infill development.
In the last several years, the governor of Michigan has placed seven cities under the control of emergency managers (EMs), who have the authority to make drastic cuts and rearrangements of public processes and services. I investigate what happens to planning processes under these circumstances, and how EMs use planning to accomplish their goals. I find that many of the cities devote renewed attention to planning, and that the planning process may function as an alternative public participation process, given that the normal democratic process had been disrupted. I also find that the implementation of the plans is likely to be problematic because of staffing cuts, and that planning in itself cannot solve the structural problems that led to these cities’ financial distress.
There are more causes of fiscal distress than remedies. A nascent field is emerging built on the practices utilized to confront fiscal distress. The usual method follows a federal structure in that the state has ultimate responsibility when local governments fail, leaving communities to live in a "new normal" of austere oversight. As more urban areas contend with extended economic downturns, political paralysis, and social apathy in the face of unsustainable governance, there is a need for a strategic approach to the administrative side of fiscal distress management. Although cutbacks, consolidations, and service reductions are the tactical tools of the trade, emergency financial management also requires a guiding strategy that protects the fundamental purpose and character of the local government. This article uses ideas from disaster management and the fiscal crises in Michigan to develop four key elements in a strategic approach to emergency financial management.
In this article, we study protest participants in the May 2006 immigration rights marches in Los Angeles. Analysis of original survey data of 876 march participants yields five main results. First, despite substantial dispute among organizers on how to frame the marches, we find protest participants were similar across march locations organized by different coalitions. Second, we find Spanish-English bilingual participants seemed to benefit from being in two media environments, as they reported more information sources about the protest events than monolingual participants. Third, women reported hearing about the protest events from more information sources, and Spanish-English bilingual women reported hearing from more information sources than any other group, suggesting they acted as social connectors behind the massive participation. Fourth, we confirm the importance of Spanish-language radio as an information source, but our data also point to the significance of television and English-language radio. Finally, analyzing data of first-time protesters, we estimate the immigrant rights marches newly politicized 125,000 people in Los Angeles who spoke Spanish and not English.
Polycentric theory, as applied to sustainability policy adoption, contends that municipalities will act independently to provide public services that protect the environment. Our multilevel regression analysis of survey responses from 1,497 municipalities across the United States challenges that notion. We find that internal drivers of municipal action are insufficient. Lower policy adoption is explained by capacity constraints. More policy making occurs in states with a multilevel governance framework supportive of local sustainability action. Contrary to Fischel’s homevoter hypothesis, we find large cities and rural areas show higher levels of adoption than suburbs (possibly due to free riding within a metropolitan region).
A growing empirical literature demonstrates the effects of introducing public school choice on housing values. The weakening of the connection between home location and school location has implications for urban and suburban communities. In this article, we contribute to the understanding of how public school choice is related to the residential location decisions of parents. Using a nationally-representative sample, we demonstrate that where public school choice is reported to be available, the probability that parents choose a residence based on the assigned schools is 6.5 percentage points lower. Parents are actively incorporating the option to choose schools into the decision of where to live and report relatively high levels of parental satisfaction with those schools. At the same time, roughly, one out of every eight children engaged in school choice attends a school that was not their family’s first choice and report substantially lower levels of school satisfaction. This mismatch between schools and students may limit the likelihood that more families will eschew traditional residential school choice.
Empirical and theoretical research on government competition and collaboration identifies several important macro-level characteristics that can affect these forms of interaction between local governments within the same large jurisdiction. These characteristics are fragmentation of governments, fiscal dispersion of governments, sorting of population by governments, and decentralized fiscal responsibility between state and local governments. This study presents indices to measure these characteristics and examines how metropolitan regions in the United States with populations greater than one million are distributed on these indices. The study also examines how these regions compare on conditions that are likely to motivate sales tax competition between municipal governments.
This research uses the concept of intersectionality to help improve understanding of the relationship between race and gender as it pertains to the jurisdictional context of elective offices held by blacks, Latinos, Asian-Americans, and American-Indians at the subnational level. Utilizing an enhanced version of a comprehensive data set associated with the Gender and Multicultural Leadership Project, we document more substantial evidence of ethnoracial descriptive representation in state and local offices than previously known as well as important variations by race, gender, level/type of office, and their intersections. To help disentangle the paradoxical position of political women of color, we discuss with three scenarios implications of jurisdictional context on building electoral coalitions across race or gender by women of color.
A community coalition negotiated a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with a developer in 2001 for the L.A. Live sports and entertainment district, the largest project in contemporary downtown Los Angeles. The CBA included provisions for affordable housing, local hiring, and living wage jobs. It is a major change in the history of large development projects that result in the destruction of neighborhoods and displacement of residents, with few, if any, benefits going to the residents experiencing the negative effects of these projects. The L.A. Live CBA is significant because it is recognized as the nation’s first comprehensive CBA and has served as a model for CBAs across the country. This is the first study to provide an in-depth examination of the results of the CBA’s major provisions regarding affordable housing and local hiring. To explain why CBAs emerged in Los Angeles at this time, we use regime theory’s emphasis on shifts in the relative strength and interests of groups influencing development policies. We suggest that the fragmentation of growth interests in the 1990s, and the growing influence of unions, community organizations, and the Latino population, created a political opportunity for the establishment of the L.A. Live CBA.
Using surveys collected from a sample of households nested within "naturally occurring" neighborhoods in Las Vegas, Nevada, during the 2007–2009 economic recession, this study examines the associations between real and perceived measures of neighborhood distress (foreclosure rate, physical decay, crime) and residents’ reports of neighborhood quality of life and neighborhood satisfaction. Consistent with social disorganization theory, both real and perceived measures of neighborhood disorder were negatively associated with quality of life and neighborhood satisfaction. Residents’ perceptions of neighborliness partially acted as a buffer against the effects of neighborhood distress, including housing foreclosures, on quality of life, and neighborhood satisfaction.
This article develops a theoretical and empirical evaluation of the overlooked relationship between urbanization and political change. To accomplish this, theoretical insights from Weber, Lerner and Lipset’s political modernization thesis, and Dahl and Tufte’s analysis of size and democracy are used to assess the link between features of a nation’s urban system and changes to its political trajectory. A cross-national time-series analysis of 110 nations from 1965 to 2010, as well as the mini case study of Morocco, provides strong evidence that various dimensions of urbanization play an important role in eliciting political change in the developing world.
Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) are an increasing global phenomenon. In diverse places, they are established and sought of as helpful means to improve urban places. BIDs are frequently seen as a showcase for new forms of globalizing urban policies. This paper contrasts and broadens the frequent examples from the United States and the United Kingdom with experiences from Germany. We argue that this presents not just another example of BIDs as a mode of global neoliberal urban governance in yet another country. Instead, our case study highlights the elasticity and resilience of said concept and the impact of local trajectories on the mobilization of modes of urban governance. Compared with other places, BIDs in Germany remain relatively weak in terms of financial power. Nonetheless, the case of Hamburg shows how they are made suitable for discourses and practices of a neoliberalized "European City."
Over the past three decades, a number of U.S. cities have shifted from at-large to district-based elections. Some observers argue that this institutional change encourages elected officials to focus on district priorities while ignoring—and perhaps even sacrificing—broader municipal needs. Must district elections bring parochialism and logrolling to city councils? Using seven years’ worth of roll call data from the Los Angeles City Council, we examine the hypothesis that district elections result in vote-trading among its members. Overall, voting behavior on the council appears inconsistent with conventional logrolling accounts and instead points to a strategy of conditional deference on the part of elected officials. The results suggest that district-based elections do not always push elected officials to ignore the general interests of their city.
This research note examines the influence of organized interests in the land-use policy-making process from the perspective of urban planners employed in city government. Perceptions of these professionals are evaluated using a series of regression models controlling for the mitigating effects of government structure, mayoral partisanship, community characteristics, and the personal attributes of the respondents participating in the research. The results suggest that the aggregate influence of organized interests is more pronounced in cities with mayors when compared with cities with council–manager government structures. Furthermore, there is some evidence that the presence of a partisan mayor can increase the aggregate influence of organized interests, as well as mitigate the amount of influence garnered by specific groups. These findings contribute to the study of urban development by offering new insight into the relationship between local politics, organized interests, and land-use policy.
Financial support is critical to sustain and improve the implementation of sustainability policies and initiatives. How capable are local governments to finance sustainability? Why are some governments more financially able than others to fund sustainability? How does stakeholder engagement improve financial capacity for sustainability? This study provides an explanation for sustainability funding that emphasizes political behaviors of institutional players in budgetary decision making. Using a database from U.S. cities, we find that an effective approach to enhance financial capacity for sustainability is to engage stakeholders to mobilize political support and technical expertise needed in resource allocation decisions for sustainability. Specific strategic actions to enhance financial capacity are recommended as part of a long-term and structured effort to sustain sustainability funding in local government.
Traditionally, bowing to the migration history of Germany, larger proportions of foreigners live in major German cities than in other parts of the country. According to contact theory, famously developed by social psychologist Gordon Allport in the 1950s, intergroup contacts between different ethnic groups reduce prejudice. The main aim of the article is to examine whether the level of prejudice toward foreigners is lower among the German urban population due to greater contact opportunities and habituation among different ethnic groups in Germany’s major cities, which reduces prejudice as well. The presented findings show, first, that prejudice is only slightly lower in the major cities. Second, this finding crucially depends on the quality of contacts. Only friendships between Germans and foreigners show a significant impact on reducing prejudice. Clearly, beyond the level of acquaintance with individual members of an out-group, only voluntary contacts are able to diminish prejudice. Third, in terms of spatial context effects, the switch between majority and minority group positions in residential areas appears to be a tipping point for prejudice, which means that even people with low levels of prejudice wish to live as the ethnic majority in their respective residential area.
Florida’s transportation concurrency was introduced with much ambition to coordinate transportation infrastructure with development, but the lack of roadway capacity in urbanized areas and limited financial resource to invest in roads may have resulted in sprawl. Various policy responses to provide flexibility in the implementation of transportation concurrency, including Transportation Concurrency Exception Areas (TCEAs), have been introduced to address this concern. The adoption of the TCEA in Miami-Dade County was partially effective to reduce sprawl and increase urban infill, but the effectiveness may be undermined by locally discretionary implementation of transportation concurrency and inadequate traffic mitigation efforts.
This article provides a renewed understanding of migrants’ citizenship rights in urban China. Specifically, we look at how migrants fare in attaining homeownership and social benefits, in comparison with local residents. We also explore how migrant outcomes relate to both individual socioeconomic and institutional factors. The results are primarily based on the 2005 One Percent Population Survey in two of China’s largest cities—Beijing and Shanghai. Migrants have experienced improvement in homeownership and housing conditions. But there is marked heterogeneity in rights attainment among migrants, particularly by type of origin (urban vs. rural). Making the most gains are those from urban origins and with better education. Market-related factors, such as education, are increasingly important predictors of migrant outcomes in the cities.
Urban regime theory has shaped the urban politics research agenda in the United States for the past two decades. The article argues that urban regime theory draws on public and corporate behavior and strategies that were typical to the industrial era in the United States. As a result, the theory is insensitive to changes in institutional hierarchies, economic globalization, and the emergence of new types of actors and issues in urban politics. Urban governance theory conceptualizes agency more generically that allows the theory to travel better than urban regime theory in time and space.
This paper examines labor-community coalitions through an urban regime framework and focuses on three theoretically derived questions: (1) Do labor-community coalitions build "power to" in similar ways as more typical urban regimes? (2) Does the resulting policy adoption promote social change and, more conjecturally, (3) Does cooptation or ideology better explain the modest scope of change associated with labor-community coalitions? This examination of labor-community coalitions suggests partial support for urban regime theory’s assertion that power building advances through the institutionalization of cross-sectoral relationships that permit resource sharing. Relational power-building strategies have certainly helped labor-community coalitions diffuse a stable policy agenda across cities. Nonetheless, the impacts of the labor-community agenda have been modest and in line with the status quo, an outcome that may reflect more than pragmatic "going along to get along" by activists motivated to maintain access to regime-provided resources. Instead, the paper argues for maintaining the concept of ideological constraint in the explanation and practice of building power from below.
This article describes the construction of the Integrated City Sustainability Database (ICSD) that is the first truly comprehensive data set of U.S. municipal government sustainability programs and policies. Taking advantage of a unique opportunity to combine seven independent data collection efforts, it will provide a valuable resource for scholars in multiple disciplines investigating local environmental and energy sustainability. It also adds missing elements to the research infrastructure for the study of local government and urban policy. This nationwide database will provide a comprehensive assessment of municipal sustainability programs that can contribute to a more rigorous and theoretically informed understanding of city government and governance.
Building on the relevant international literature, as well as empirical research on urban cases, this article determines and discusses five core values of good urban governance: responsiveness, effectiveness, procedural justice, resilience, and counterbalance. The quest for good governance can take various forms. This article focuses on urban governance, and identifies four different shifts, with increased emphasis on the real decision makers or the ordinary citizens, with increased attention to selective choice or integrative deliberation as modes of urban governance. Urban governance and good urban governance are not synonymous. This article advocates critical reflection, moving beyond the performance bias that tends to accompany governance reform.
This article presents an agent-based computational analysis of the effects of externality zoning on environmental justice (EJ). We experiment with two ideal types of externality zoning: proactive and reactive. In the absence of zoning, environmental injustice emerges and minority agents have lower average environmental quality than majority agents. With proactive zoning, which allows polluting firms only in designated zones, EJ problems are less severe and appear more tractable. With reactive zoning, which creates buffering zones around polluting firms, environmental injustice tends to emerge more quickly as compared with proactive zoning but tends to decline over time. This analysis examines a possible policy tool available for cities to ameliorate environmental injustice.
In today’s cities, councillors see themselves increasingly confronted with new forms of political steering focusing more on interaction than on hierarchical decision making and blurring the lines between the public and private spheres. By embedding the concept of governance in a new institutionalist framework, the article investigates the implications of new models of urban governance on the identity, the notion of democracy, the perceptions, and the role behavior of city councillors. It tests two rival hypotheses—an optimistic versus a pessimistic perspective on governance and democracy—and thereby draws on multilevel analyses of a comprehensive survey of all city councillors in Switzerland.
There has been growing interest among practitioners and academics in the emergence of intergovernmental relations between local and Aboriginal governments in Canada. Initial research has focused on describing the nature of these relations but has yet to develop any theoretical expectations regarding why some communities are more likely to cooperate than others. We addresses this lacuna by developing a theoretical framework for explaining the emergence of cooperation between Aboriginal and local governments. After identifying a set of variables and specifying how they are likely to affect the propensity of communities to cooperate, we conclude with a discussion of how future researchers might use this framework to investigate cooperation and noncooperation between Aboriginal and local governments in Canada and in other settler societies.
Research on modern red-light districts (RLDs) is deficient in some key respects. Centered largely on street prostitution zones and nations where prostitution is illegal, this literature gives insufficient attention to settings where RLDs consist of a cluster of indoor venues that are legal and regulated by the authorities. Using classic Chicago School research on vice districts as a point of departure, this article examines the physical structure and social organization of red-light zones in two Belgian cities: Antwerp and Brussels. The comparative analysis identifies major differences in the social ecology of the two settings. Differences are explained by the distinctive ways in which each municipal government manages its respective RLD, which are related to the contrasting social backgrounds and political capital of the population residing in the vicinity of each district. Policy implications are briefly discussed.
Using k-means cluster analysis and discriminant analysis, this study systematically examines the trajectories of neighborhood change at the census tract level between 1990 and 2010 for all metropolitan and micropolitan areas of the United States. Seven types of neighborhoods are identified using a visualization technique of clustergram and other statistical tests. A sequence of neighborhood change has been identified. This research reveals the primarily stable nature of neighborhoods and the polarization of inequality in neighborhoods. Understanding changes that are not within the category of either downgrading or upgrading is very important for policy makers and practitioners in providing appropriate local services, support, or opportunities for the residents.
Equity is a crucial goal of American urban policy. The means by which it is pursued via the liberal approach to urban policy—augmented redistribution—is problematic, however. What is needed, therefore, is an alternative means to advance equity. Broadening ownership (of productive assets) can be the basis of such an alternative. I discuss how the liberal approach to American urban policy can be transcended by supplanting its Redistributive Paradigm with an Ownership Paradigm.
This paper investigates the change of the urban periphery, exploring the tension between the socioeconomic, financial, and political implications of postindustrial transitions. It presents and elaborates an analytical framework to conceptualize the interlocked influence of different dimensions of urban development in smaller municipalities, considering in particular how political and electoral dynamics impinge on other aspects of land development. In the article, three types of challenges are thus identified. The paper adopts an explorative approach to detect how political and electoral logics of action affect urban development in the changing periphery. It thus advances that under conditions of metropolitan fragmentation, urban projects are prone to lengthy gridlocks of localistic bargaining, and local governments are unable to fully govern the fundamental challenges of land development.
The images people hold about any city affect its ability to attract tourists, shoppers, and investment. This study of urban image in Tijuana examines institutional place promotion efforts in two vital sectors: industry and tourism. It also explores a diverse set of efforts to shape city image from the bottom-up, through blogs, grassroots organizations, and entrepreneurialism. This analysis of differently positioned actors working to shape perceptions in a time of crisis illustrates how "urban image work" comprises a broader phenomenon than urban branding or place promotion, and one that better captures political contestation over rival city images.
This article reviews and reconceptualizes America’s urban policy to highlight enduring sources of stability and change. It suggests that U.S. urban policy has two faces, one social and the other developmental. Both are built upon different political pillars. Each follows a different political logic. They are projections of powerful interests routinely playing very different political games. Consequently, this dual reality profoundly shapes the prospects for initiating new directions in U.S. urban policy in today’s political environment. Significant shifts in urban social policy are now at play, while the forces supporting the developmental face appear more resilient.
This paper sets forth the hypothesis that the more that a city’s economy reflects the creative class and cultural tourism elements that characterize "new economy"-style postindustrial cities, the more that the police will emphasize heightened order maintenance. Such a thesis is evident in case studies on innovations in urban social control and on cities aspiring to global city status. But the thesis needs empirical test across a large sample of cities that vary on "new economy" status, with alternative explanations for variation in order maintenance policing simultaneously taken into account. This paper provides that test for cities above 100,000 in population, controlling for variables representing the racial threat thesis, governing institutions, community policing, and policing demands and constraints. The results provide robust support for the postindustrial policing hypothesis.
This article explores the quintessential "person–environment" relationship that forms the core of the subdiscipline of social geography within the context of a national accountability shift from state to society in England. Two Audit Commission datasets are mined to establish homogeneous clusters of residential socioeconomic status and quality of life status before being cross-tabulated to detect genuine issues that affect each characteristic locality. In three of the four cross-tabulations, significant differences on economic well-being, life-long learning, and health distinguish correspondences, whereas in the other, less tangible, case, such factors as the use of cultural facilities, community cohesion, and people’s access to work seem to matter. The implications for research, policy, and practice are duly considered.
What is urban politics really about? Despite decades of research, there is still considerable disagreement about the relative roles of race, class, ideology, partisanship, and other factors in shaping the urban vote. In this article, we assemble a wide range of data on a diverse set of urban elections and offer a more explicit empirical test of what shapes urban politics. Our results suggest that local elections are partly an ideological battle, partly a partisan contest, and at least marginally linked to class, religion, and morality. Race, however, is the dominant factor in the local electoral arena. Local elections are in no small part a competition between blacks, whites, Latinos, and Asian-Americans over the leadership of their cities. We also assess how and why these divides vary across cities and electoral contexts finding that a theory of realistic group conflict best predicts patterns in the vote.
The urban and territorial changes caused by tourism are well studied topics in contemporary scientific literature. This article uses an integrative approach that lies between the scientific traditions in urban geography and the geography of tourism to present a case study of a socialist city. Tourism is a strategic economic activity in Cuba, and the country’s most popular sun and sand tourist destination is Varadero. At first consideration, its tourism model is not very different from those of other areas in the region (Dominican Republic, Riviera Maya, etc.), but the uniqueness of the Cuban government and emphasis on planning introduce several distinguishing features. The combined analysis of the development of tourism in the city and the recent history of territorial planning leads to conclusions regarding the role of tourism in urban development, which has resulted in the creation of a dual-city model, and the role land planning is playing.
Prior research has established race as a factor in annexation decisions in the American South; however, there is very little research that examines the influence of ethnicity on annexation patterns. We consider a sample of incorporated places and their adjacent unincorporated blocks in 10 midwestern states to understand the relationship of ethnicity to annexation and possible differences in the drivers of annexation in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan contexts. The determinants of annexation in the Midwest differ in nonmetropolitan areas with existing population pressure and factors associated with capturing future growth as key drivers. Ethnicity appears to play a limited role in understanding annexation in the Midwest, but only within the nonmetropolitan context.
Conditional cash transfer (CCT) policies are characterized as "magic bullets in development." The New York City (NYC) CCT program, Opportunity NYC, was framed as a policy transfer experiment from Mexico’s Oportunidades. This article shows how Opportunity NYC was used to legitimate Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s power and symbolize his policy efficacy, while its private funding overrode concerns of democratic accountability. The policy rationales that justify CCTs cannot explain why particular models travel across borders, nor how such ideas are globally diffused. The case is discussed in relation to theories on diffusion of public policies and a new type, oligarchic diffusion, is proposed.
The literature contains a wealth of theorizing and prescription regarding citizen participation, but little in the way of systematic evidence. We seek to increase empirical knowledge of participation through examination of public meeting participation associated with Florida’s Truth-in-Millage Act requirements for local government tax and budget decisions. Unlike existing evidence on public meetings, this research is based on statistical analysis of a random-sample survey (N = 601) and qualitative analysis of focus group results. In a departure from the standard socioeconomic explanation for citizen participation—which tends to ignore public meetings as a method of participation—we find no statistical difference in public meeting attendance based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, education, or income. Furthermore, we find that although state information requirements likely fulfill a needed purpose in providing transparency and accountability in local government tax and budget matters, they do not motivate public meeting attendance. Finally, our findings reinforce earlier contributions to the literature that emphasize the importance of citizen beliefs regarding political efficacy as a critical component of participation.
Local governments are increasingly forging creative alliances to solve community problems and provide local services. The literature recognizes cultural institutions as partners for local community development, yet these alliances remain underutilized. This article identifies the contributions that local government partnerships with cultural institutions—specifically public gardens—make to community development through their services, presence, and location in urban America. Using data from a national survey and 96 expert interviews of public garden and government officials, we explain why these alliances are forming, document their potential to improve communities, and suggest steps that local governments might take to benefit from this vital partner. Results expand our understanding of how nontraditional community development partners can provide resources to local governments to address urban challenges.
The uneven distribution of urban services has been the subject of debate in the urban studies literature, and yet no consensus has been reached upon its determinants. This article reexamines this puzzle by looking at variation in post-Hurricane Katrina building permit issuance in New Orleans. Focusing on the potential effect of civic competence on urban service delivery patterns, I test a hypothesis that the number of building permits and the speed of permit issuance are positively associated with the degree of community participation in local politics. Results indicate that local political participation not only contributes to increasing the number of permits but also facilitates the permit issuance process.
We develop a revised theory of political influence that addresses the relationship between minority political representation and administrative-level municipal employment patterns among African-Americans and Latinos in U.S. cities. We conduct pooled time-series analysis on employment data from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for years 1987 through 2001. We find that the dynamics of political representation are different for African-Americans and Latinos. Cities with African-American mayors or city managers tend to have more African-Americans serving in administrative positions in municipal agencies. Although this mayoral/city manager effect is not found for Latino employment, more Latino council members lead to more Latino administrators. We also find that African-American employment gains resulting from political representation are more likely to occur in agencies that have the most policy relevance for African-Americans, yet this is not the case for Latino employment. Our results suggest strongly that political processes—conceptualized as the relationship between political leadership and administrative-level hiring and retention—work differently for African-Americans than they do for Latinos.